Damon Dash in Cannes, Araki's "Mysterious" New Film, Lincoln Center Honors Hawke, & More
by Wendy Mitchell
DASH-ING IN CANNES: Among those who seized the opportunity to tout their latest work in Cannes was emerging mogul Damon Dash. The music, clothing, and (now we're talking) vodka impresario was in France to sell international rights to his first solo feature film, "Death of a Dynasty," which had its world premiere earlier this month at the Tribeca Film Festival. Dash is anxious to make a larger splash in the film world he explained during a chat with indieWIRE on the Don Juan yacht. "Last year I came to spend money, this year I came to make money," he offered. Wellspring is selling the film internationally, while Stephen Beer is handling a pending domestic deal that will have a sizable theatrical commitment. Rocking his Rocawear line, Dash made sure to keep a bottle of his Armadale vodak nearby for all photo ops. "I'm an independent label," he explained, but added, "I have the power of a major." Dash told indieWIRE that he is anxious to get back behind the camera. "I have to work on my angles a bit," he smiled, admitting that he is still learning the craft of directing. Later that night, while his ever-present videographer captured each moment, Dash threw a party on the yacht, welcoming Russell Simmons and rappers from the French group MTM. Up next, Dash is backing a new film from Abel Ferrara.
ARAKI'S SKIN: Gregg Araki is partnering with producers Mary Jane Skalski and Jeff Levy-Hinte to produce his new film, "Mysterious Skin." The film is based on Scott Heim's acclaimed novel. Araki, who says the book drove him to tears when he first read it in 1996, will direct. The drama is described as the story of "two boys who meet when they are 18 and discover a common past that has shaped both of them in very different ways." Fortissimo Film Sales is on board as well, with Michael J. Werner and Wouter Barendrecht serving as exec producers. Casting director Shannon Makhanian recently came on board to try and find the leads in the film, boys who appear at ages 8 and 18.
LOOK NOW: British director Nicolas Roeg has signed on to direct "Adina" for producers Andy Denemark and Bernadette Elliott of Burnt Danish Productions. The film, described as "a philosophical horror film that explores society's obsession with youth, sex, and beauty." Roeg's credits include "Don't Look Now," "Walkabout," and "The Man Who Fell To Earth."
"TOGETHER" IN NYC: United Artists celebrated the premiere of Chen Kaige's new film, "Together" with a screening at the DGA Theater on Tuesday, followed by a reception and violin performance by Chuanyun Li at Carnegie Hall. The classy evening included another acclaimed violinist, Joshua Bell, who attended the event and posed for photos with Chen and musician Chuanyun. The films opens theatrically today.
HAWKE SIGHTING: Start grooming your goatees...Ethan Hawke will be the honoree at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Young Friends of Film Honors on Tuesday. The evening at Walter Reade Theater will feature clips from Hawke's career plus tributes from his pals including Vincent D'Onofrio, Liev Schreiber, Steve Zahn, Richard Linklater, and wife Uma Thurman. A black-tie party will follow in the Kaplan Penthouse. Past recipients of the award include Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Turturro, and Kevin Bacon.
MORE FOR MOORE: Alliance Atlantis announced that Michael Moore's doc "Bowling For Columbine" has now passed the $50 million mark at the worldwide box office. The film will be released soon in parts of Eastern Europe, South Africa, Kenya, and certain Latin American countries.
CLASH OF THE TITANS: Electroclash may be going the way of trucker hats in terms of coolness, but if there are any budding filmmakers inspired by the band Fischerspooner, now's your chance at fame. Through June 13, Capitol Records and IFILM are sponsoring a contest for emerging filmmakers who want to create visual interpretations of Fischerspooner's song "Emerge." The winner will get an Apple eMac SuperDrive along with other prizes, and the winning film will be promoted online. For info on how to enter, visit capitolrecords.com/fischerspooner/contests/ifilm.
SWIMMING INTO SUMMER: It's a suburban summer kick-off at the Pioneer Theater in New York's East Village. Through June 10, the Pioneer is presenting a "suburban nightmares" program featuring 1970's "The Honeymoon Killers" and 1968's "The Swimmer." The latter is a particular cult favorite based on a John Updike short story, shown here with a rare restored 35mm print.
DVD ACTION: Music company Waxploitation has launched a film company to produce hip-hop and extreme sports DVDs. The company, known for managing King Britt, Peanut Butter Wolf, Tony Touch, Josh Wink, and other producers and artists, also has a sister company that represents action sports athletes. Waxploitation Films will be headed by former Vivendi exec David Leslie. The first DVD titles, co-produced with Carter Gibbs and E-Swift and emerging filmmakers, will ship in the fourth quarter.